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Kent’s Pichowski tips England for success in Australia

Tuesday 7th December 2010

Kent's Stefan Pichowski (pictured) will fly the flag for the county when the England Deaf squad travel down under next month for a Tri-Series against Australia and South Africa in Geelong.

England will be looking to win back the trophy, currently held by Australia, after their last encounter in 2008 ended in a draw.

The club website caught up with Stefan to get his thoughts, ahead of the trip.

Are you looking forward to going to Australia?
Yes, this represents an exciting opportunity, for the best hearing impaired cricketers in the land, to compete against their counterparts against Australia and South Africa. It is a historical first tri-nation series and it is the dream of every cricketer to wear the shirt for their country.

Have you been before?
Yes, I have been there on numerous occasions (for work, club cricket and international deaf cricket). It is true that the wickets are generally harder but, like in England, the wickets can vary from one to another. ECAD played Australia in 2004, when we lost the test series 1-0 and the one day internationals, 5-0. Since then, we have improved considerably so it will be interesting to see how England and Australia fare against one another.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What kind of player are you?
I moved to Kent three years ago and have played for Ashford, The Mote and Hythe. As a cricketer, I started playing for Northants age groups, Bucks under 25’s, Wolverton Town in the Northants Premier league, Home Counties and the Cherwell League – before coming to the county. It has been difficult to settle down, after suffering some injuries, but all that is behind me now. I am a left-arm orthodox bowler and a middle order right-hand batsman. Last season, I took a four-wicket haul for Hythe 1st team before returning to the seconds to help them with a handful of wickets to win promotion to Division One. I regard myself as a "jack of all trades" and I look to contribute with both bat and ball. As one of the older campaigners, I will be seeking to assist the younger players with some of my so-called wisdom!

Who have you modelled yourself on?
I grew up in mainstream cricket and looked up to the international stars of the 1980’s. I admired people like David Gower, Gordon Greenidge, Roger Harper, Wasim Akram and Kapil Dev – amongst others. Two players that really inspired me were Allan Lamb and Muttiah Muralitharan. Lamb“s heroics against the West Indies impressed and Murali’s new bag of tricks for the "finger" spinner were always exciting to watch!

What do you do away from cricket?
I work as an Assessment and Support Worker for Deaf People at Medway Council. My employer has been very supportive and has enabled me to train and attend cricket tours etc. My job includes assessing deaf people’s needs for equipment at home such as text phones, devices for alerting deaf people of the doorbell, phone ringing, alarm clocks, smoke alarms (for daytime and night-time). Support work involves helping deaf people with employment, letters, benefits and housing. Some deaf people’s reading & writing is secondary to British Sign Language as BSL is their first language.

What is the standard of deaf cricket?
The standard of a deaf cricketer can vary from one individual to the next. There are deaf first class players in some countries but other countries contain no so-called superstars. They, instead, rely on a strong squad of club cricketers. In simple layman terms, there are premier league to "division four" players but what makes it so tough is that teams hunt in packs and are usually relentless.

How long are you out in Australia for?
We are in Geelong Grammar School at Geelong, Victoria from January 10 to January 28. For updates/scores and dates, you can access the ECB and England Cricket Association for the Deaf websites.

What goals have you set yourself for your trip?
Although we have an inexperienced squad, we have the best available players in the country. Our number one aim will be to win the Ashes for the first time in history of deaf cricket. "When" this happens, we will focus on setting good targets and bowling in the right areas and fielding as a unit in the limited overs. My personal aim has to be to make the most of every moment, enjoy it and give myself a chance to perform in the internationals. Sometimes, cricket has a habit of kicking you in the teeth but it can also provide some of the best feelings in the world. Hopefully, it is the latter on this tour!

Have England got a good chance of winning back the Ashes?
Absolutely! We respect Australia but they hold no fears – and it should be a very good contest between bat and ball. We will need to adapt quickly to the weather, pitches, conditions etc but we have the ability to win. Bring on the tour!